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Coping with family holiday stress

Holidays can be fun, but they can also be too busy, boring or stressful!

Teen not having fun at the beach with mum and sibling

Coping with the holidays

There are lots of reasons why the holiday season can be a tricky time

You might be stressed about...

  • Missing a loved one who is not with you these holidays
  • Pressure to split your time between two parents or homes
  • Feeling lonely if you’re spending time away from friends
  • Trying to keep up with a busy schedule of family gatherings
  • Feeling disappointed you’re not spending holidays as you hoped

If other family members are busy and stressed, things can become tense. People might get easily frustrated or snap at each other.

Signs that the holidays might be getting to you

Sometimes it can feel pretty obvious when things are getting on top of you! But sometimes it can sneak up on you. Things to look out for include:

Wanting to spend more time alone

Feeling physically tired or drained

Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

Missing school or wishing the holidays would end

Feeling sick in your stomach or getting headaches

Getting frustrated more easily and having arguments

Tips for making the most of the holidays

If you notice yourself feeling stressed or down, try these suggestions:

Have a plan! If you get bored easily, think of ways to spend your spare time doing things that make your heart sing. Try a new hobby, play a sport or learn a new skill like drawing or computer programming.

It’s ok to take time out: If you need some space, it's ok to take a break away from everyone. You could excuse yourself and go outside for a short walk, listen to some music or binge some episodes of your favourite show.

Talk about how you feel: Especially if you are sad, upset or stressed, talk to someone you trust about how you're feeling. This is a good way to stop your feelings from building up to a possible explosion!

Make time for reflection as well as fun: Try some relaxation techniques like meditation or mindful colouring. Or maybe drawing or journaling about your thoughts and feelings could be more your style.

Give to others: Give a hug, a compliment or a handmade gift to somebody special in your life these holidays. Not only does it make them feel special, you'll feel good too!

Try to remember what it’s all about: While holidays can have a different meaning to us all, for many it is a time to connect and spend time with those we care about.

We're here if you want to talk about it

If you want to get some things off your chest these holidays, give us a call

If you feel like talking you can chat to one of our counsellors. Kids Helpline is here 24/7 - call us for free on 1800 55 1800, connect via WebChat or send us an email.

This content was last reviewed 23/01/2019

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